Page images

mity of his carnal mind against salvation of the elect. And he the way of salvation by Christ and plainly teaches, that it is the purall who heartily embraced it. But pose of God to destroy the nonat length he was made a signal elect, in order to display the richsubject of that special grace, which es of his grace towards the elect. he had opposed. This change of That God means to destroy the heart produced as great a change non-elect is plainly taught in the in sentiment, He became the scriptures. We are expressly told,

, most zealous and able advocate of that Judas was a reprobate; that the doctrines of grace. To explain he was the son of perdition; that and inculcate these doctrines is it had been good for him if he had the capital point in his epistles. never been born; and that he went He dwells upon grace in his epis- to his own place; the place to tles to the Galatians, Ephesians which he was originally appointed. and Colossians, but especially in The unbelieving Jews in Christ's his epistle to the Romans. He day were such, as God had reprotraces grace from step to step to bated and meant to destroy.-its original and eternal source. Hence we read in the twelfth He begins the epistle with a lively chapter of John's gospel, “ Thereand just description of human nat- fore they could not believe, beure in its present fallen state. cause Esaias said, He hath blindHe proves both Jews and Gentiles ed their eyes and hardened their to be totally depraved and justly heart, that they should not see condemned. He brings into view with their eyes nor understand the great atonement of Christ. He with their heart and be converted points out the way, by which sin- and I should heal them.” Peter, ners become interested in it. He speaking of believers and unbeshows their renovation of heart and lievers, represents certain unbejustification before God to be of lievers as appointed to destrucgrace, and finally he traces their tion. "Unto you, therefore, who fall and recovery to the grace of believe, he is precious; but unto God in his original, eternal pur-them, who be disobedient, the pose of election. These doctrines stone, which the builders disallowhe fairly states and clearly illus- ed; the same is made the head trates. He mentions instances of of the corner and a stone of stumelection and reprobation. And by bling and a rock of offence, even these instances he makes it appear, to them who stumble at the word, that God fits some for destruction being disobedient; whereunto also and others for heaven for the same they were appointed.” Jude menbenevolent and important purpose: tions certain ungodly men, “who that is, to display the riches of his were of old ordained to condemgrace. He says, " What if God | nation."

nation.” But Paul, in his epistle willing to show his wrath and to to the Romans, more fully proves, make his power known, endured that God means to destroy the with much long-suffering the ves- non-elect. In the ninth chapter sels of wrath fitted to destruction; of this epistle he treats of election and that he might make known the and reprobation. Of Esau and riches of his glory on the vessels Jacob he says, “For the children of mercy, which he had afore pre- being not yet born, neither having pared unto glory?" Here the apos- done any good or evil, that the tle, at one view, exhibits, in the purpose of God according to elecmost affecting contrast, the des- tion might stand, not of works, truction of the non-elect and the but of him that calleth; it was said unto her, the elder shall serve serious question to every COBthe younger; as it is written, Ja- science, What, if God willing to cob have I loved, but Esau have I show his wrath and make his powhated. What shall we say then? er known, endured with much Is there unrighteousness with God long-suffering the vessels of wrath

? God forbid. For he saith to Mo- fitted to destruction; and that he ses, I will have mercy on whom I might make known the riches of will have mercy, and I will have, bis glory on the vessels of mercy compassion on whom I will have which he had afore prepared wat compassion. So then it is not of glory?” As if he had said, Tho him that willeth, nor of him that God does fit some men for desrunneth, but of God that showeth truction who were originally demercy. For the scripture saith signed io be vessels of wrath; yet unto Pharaoh, even for this same even in fitting them for destrucpurpose have I raised thee up, that tion he displays great love, grace, I might show my power in thee, patience and long-suffering toand that my name might be declar-wards them, in giving them a fair ed throughout all the earth." Here opportunity to be saved; and beare two instances of personal re- sides all this, he finally destroy probation; Esau and Pharaoh were them to answer a most gracious appointed to destruction, The and merciful design, even to disapostle then proceeds and opposes play his own glory and the riches these two instances to God's gen- of his grace in the salvation of eral conduct and purpose respect- those, who are ordained to eternal ing all the elect and non-elect. life." This saine sentiment he exTherefore bath he mercy on bibits in the strongest terms in whom he will have mercy, and the eleventh chapter of the same whom he will he hardeneth.Here epistle: “ What then? Israel hath he starts an objection, in order to not obtained that which he seeketh set the doctrine of reprobation in for; but the election hatb obtain. a more clear and convincing light. ed it, and the rest were blinded; 6 You will say then unto me, why according as it is written, Gou doth he yet find fault? for who hath given them the spirit of hath resisted his will? Nay, but slumber, eyes that they should O man, who art thou, that repliest not see and ears that they should against God? Shall the thing forin- not hear unto this day.” Thus it ed say to him that formed it, why appears that God has reprobated hast thou made me thus? Hath not some of mankind and that accordthe potter power over the clay, of ing to an original and avowed purthe same lump to make one vessel pose, he hardens their hearts and unto honour and another unto dis- by the influence of divine truth honour?” flere the apostle illus- fits them for destruction; the end trates God's sovereign right to re- to which they were appointed. probate, harden and destroy whom But why should God design to he pleases of the fallen, guilty race destroy any of the human race: of men.

But he would not have He is as able to save all as a part. men imagine, that God's sover- He has the hearts of all in bis eignty in dooning sinners to ruin, hand, as the clay is in the hand of was arbitrary and capricious, but the potter. He can form a vessel

a wise and benevolent; aiming at of mercy as easily as a vessel of the most amiable and desirable wrath. He can as easily soften as end, even the display of the riches harden the human heart. And he of divine grace. ' For he puts the l has actually softened the hearts of


for thy ranson, Ethiopia and Seba holy angels and in the presence for thee. Since thou wast precious the Lamb; and the smoke of thek in my sight, thou hast been hon- torment ascendeth forever and ourable and I have loved thee: ever." These worshippers were therefore will I give men for thee mystical Babylon, and the comand people for thy life.” Indeed, mand is, "Rejoice over her, thos all the great and desolating judg. heaven, and ye holy apostles and ments, which have been inflicted prophets,” Now, if God means upon the nations of the earth, are to punish the wicked forever, in represented as being inflicted for the view of the vessels of mercy, the benefit of the people of God then we may justly suppose, that and to display that mercy towards he means to punish them to disthein," which endureth forever. play his grace towards the redeenHence we may justly conclude, ed from amongst men. He means that God means to destroy the to enhance their holiness and hapvessels of wrath, in order to dis- piness by all the miseries of the play the riches of his grace to damned. And by promoting their wards the vessels of mercy: But holiness and happiness he will that this is the great design of the forever display the riches and the Deity in reprobating and destroy- exceeding riches of his grace toing the non-elect, will further ap- wards them. This is God's design pear, if we consider, that the final in destroying the finally impenand eternal destruction of the tent. And the means are directwicked will naturally tend, in va- ly suited to answer the end. rious ways, to enhance the holiness 2. The continual view of the and happiness of the vessels of damned will give saints a realizmercy)" To make this appear, I ing sense of the infinite evil and would observe,

malignity of sin. The vessels of 1. The scripture represents the wrath will be a perpetual mirror, . final and eternal punishment of in which they will constantly see the wicked as being inflicted in the themselves; what they had been clear and full view of the inhabi- and would have been, if left to tants of heaven. It is said to the their own choice. The vessels of wicked, “God shall destroy theewrath will discover all their feelforever. The righteous shall seeings without restraint. They will land fear.” Again," He shall express their enmity to God and take them away as with a whirl- their opposition to one another and wind; both living and in his wrath. to all the creatures of God, withThe righteous shall rejoice when out the least restraint. Their he seeth the vengeance." Again, 'hearts were under restraint in this ***Only with these eyes shalt thou world, but in that hopeless state buhold and see the reward of the all restraints will be taken off and wicked.” Isaiah says, * They they will" undoubtedly appear ten go

forth and look upon the thousand fold more opposed to carcases of the men, that have God, to his subjects and to all the transgressed against me, for their good of the universe, than they worm shall not die, neither shall did in this state of probation, Ruw their fire bě quenched.", And in affecting will this be to the holy the fourteenth of Revelations, it is hearts of the redeemed! They will said of the worshippers of the see themselves in the most perfect beast and his image, that they contrast. They will see themselves shall be torinented with fire and

as perfectly holy and excellent, in urimstone in the presence of the I contrast with being perfectly ma



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

levolent and odious. And this saints in heaven will perpetually difference between themselves and see that eternal destruction, from the most wretched and hateful which God sent his Son to save his creatures, they will be obliged and vile and ill-deserving creatures, disposed to ascribe to the exceed It will appear becoming him, by ing riches of divine grace.. whom are all things and for whom

3. The continued view of the are all things, to make the captain damned will give them a constant of their salvation perfect through and lively sense of that punish- sufferings. The infinitely imporment, which sio justly deserves. tant end will justify the extraordiIn this world they had seen tem nary means of their redemption. poral punishinents and only read It will appear that no other being of eternal punishments. But when than the Son of God, was sufficient they shall see God showing his to accomplish the amazing work wrath and making his power of man's redemption. And hence known in pouring out the vials of they will feel their infinite obligahis indignation upon the vessels of tions to God the Father for his wrath, without mixture and with astonishing grace in the gift of his out end, they will see a difference, Son to save a perishing world, an infinite difference, between any 5. The continual view of the temporal and eternal punishments. miseries of the damned will keep The vessels of wrath will exhibit up a constant sense of the beauty, a most affecting picture of keen excellency and grace of Christ, sensibility, intolerable anguish and who poured out his soul unto death perpetual despair. Lying under on the cross, to deliver them from the weight of the Almighty power the wrath to come. It is because and infinite wrath of an holy and saints on earth lose a sense of their unchangeable God, they will make "ill desert and exposedness to eterail heaven and especially the re-nal destruction, that they so often deemed and sanctitied realize what lose a sense of the grace of our they have deserved at the hand of Lord Jesus Christ, to whom they their injured and offended sover- are indebted for all their present eign. The vessels of mercy, in happiness and future hopes and this situation, can never forget, prospects. But every time the that they might have justly been vessels of mercy cast their eyes the vessels of wrath, and that they upon the vessels of wrath, they might eternally have felt what they will feel their obligations to Christ eternally behold.

and be ready to exclaim in rap4. The continual view of the tures, “ Worthy is the Lamb, that damned will give the vessels of was slain, to receive power and mercy a lively sense of the grace riches and wisdom and strength of God in providing a Saviour for and honour and glory and blessing, them. The reason why mankind for thou hast redeemed us to God in this world so generally make by thy blood, and made us kings light of redeeming love, is, that and priests unto God and the they have so little sense of the Father." damnation of hell. If they had a 1

6. A clear and constant view clear view of that bottomless pit, of the vessels of wrath will give into which they are exposed to fall the vessels of mercy a most affectevery moment, they would have a ing impression of the irresistable greater sense of God's grace in and distinguishing grace of God providing a Saviour for such guil. in forming them vessels of mercy. ty, hell-deserving creatures. The 'In the vessels of wrath will be

de indebted for all their present

« PreviousContinue »